Tourist trips had decreased significantly in the world following pandemic restrictions.
Despite this downside, the latest UNWTO data highlights the resilience and rapid rebound of tourism, with consequences already visible on growth and jobs, underlines the Secretary General of the UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, quoted in the press release.
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According to a preliminary estimate provided by the Madrid agency, revenues generated by international tourism reached 1.4 trillion dollars last year. The economic contribution of tourism, including air traffic, amounted to 3% of global GDP.
This long-awaited recovery by tourism stakeholders should continue over the coming months. According to a first estimate from the UNWTO, tourist arrivals should exceed the 2019 level by 2% this year, a new record.
According to the UN agency, activity should benefit in particular from the increase in tourism in China thanks to the relaxation of the visa regime for many countries, including France, x27;Germany and Italy, and Chinese movements in other areas of the world.
China was the world's leading supplier of tourists before the pandemic, with 154 million Chinese having visited other countries, according to the UNWTO. The Chinese were also the biggest spenders, with $255 billion spent in 2019, or 17% of global tourism spending.
The resumption of Chinese tourism should particularly benefit France, the world's leading tourist destination. The country, which will host the Olympic Games this summer, but also the 80th anniversary of the Landings of June 6, 1944 in Normandy, should receive more than 100 million tourists in 2024, according to the government.
France remains the world's leading tourist destination.
It should also benefit Spain, the second most visited country in the world, with 84 million tourists last year, a new record, according to the executive. We are well placed to continue on this path in 2024, underlined Friday the Minister of Tourism, Jordi Hereu.
According to the ;OMT, the consolidation of global tourism nevertheless remains dependent on the evolution of geopolitical risks, particularly in the Middle East, where tourism is expected to suffer from the consequences of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, and in Ukraine, where the war with Russia is getting bogged down.
It could also be penalized by economic problems, such as persistent inflation, low rates of ;high interest rates and volatile oil prices, which could continue to impact transportation and accommodation costs in 2024.
A set of factors that could push international tourists to travel closer to home, for reasons of economy, concludes the UNWTO.